Dear New York Comic Con -and your parent company ReedPOP,

We, here at The NYRD, want to start this letter by saying that we have always been big supporters of what you do. Your convention was one of our favorite events of the year and most of us have been attending since the very beginning. In fact, each year we have even coerced more and more friends, family, and even strangers into attending your event. Moreover, New York Comic Con brought us together and inspired us to follow our nerdy passions. Without NYCC there may not have ever been The NYRD.

That is why we find it so heartbreaking to say that we will not be attending your convention this year. Your latest ticketing policies have proven that NYCC is no longer about fans and fun, but about profits and greed. You have lost sight of what is important and we can no longer support you.

Now, please understand we are not claiming that you should offer your convention for free. You have the right to make a profit. We understand that, but your current “fan verification” process is both unwieldy and unnecessary. In order to purchase a ticket a fan must first go through the Fan Verification Process. Then when the day finally comes, fans must use their specific verification link to go to the ticket site, where they can wait for hours in a virtual queue. Assuming the servers don’t crash or tickets aren’t sold out, fans then finally get a chance to purchase their passes with hard-earned money. However, the process is not done. Next fans have to create an account to assign those tickets to pre-verified attendees. If they fail to do so than the tickets will be taken away with no questions asked. Meanwhile, this process is explained only through emails. That means anyone who wants to attend NYCC must be on the email list, and must remember to check their spam filters as -inevitably- at least one or most of these blast messages can be flagged as spam by certain email services. All of this is compounded by technical problems on your end.

In at least one instance when assigning tickets to their proper “verified” attendees the process failed completely. A member of our staff had his ticket refunded without warning, even after he completed the assignment process. It was made even worse by the fact that he was one person who only bought one ticket. Commonsense would seem to dictate that one person who purchased one ticket would be using that ticket for themselves. Your ticket assignment process should at least automatically recognize that the person who wasted their time to “verify,” “purchase,” and “register,” would be using at least one of the tickets they bought. Your new process and zero tolerance policies are hurting real people who only want to attend NYCC. So, if fans fail to jump through one of the hoops that constitutes your new system, then their money is refunded and their tickets are taken away, with no chance for an appeal.

Objectively, even your convoluted process of verification and registration can be doable by many attendees, and we are sure the floors of NYCC will still be packed with hundreds of thousands of people. However, that is also part of the point we are making. You, ReedPOP and NYCC, know full well that you are going to make money regardless of the sheer number of lunatic hurdles that you place in front of fans. New York Comic Con is going to sell out, because it is New York City. By the law of averages, you could require attendees to capture live raccoons with bar codes tattooed onto their stomachs and still get at least 100,000 people. However, just because you can do something does not mean that you should.

In years passed you had a simply code-registration system, which worked fine. It may not have stopped all the scalping, but it had the added benefit of being understandable and simple for convention goers to accomplish. Here is a news flash: You cannot stop 100% of scalping. Yes, you can limit it, and we would argue the reasonable measures you had put in place, in the past, did well to do that. However, making people jump through flaming hoops of crap to buy tickets, only hurts actual fans. We guarantee with the utmost certainty that there will still be people on 34th street hawking passes regardless of your new draconian rules. It happens at sporting events, music concerts, and even movies, but those venues do not require that attendees offer up DNA verification or one of their first born as collateral.

NYCC, we know that you are just following the example of your older brother, SDCC, but there was still scalping at San Diego Comic Con this past year, regardless of their regulations. With hundreds of thousand of attendees, no verification process or registration process is going to stop all the scalped tickets from getting through the door. We are not condoning scalping, but we also do not condone policies that are aimed at assuming everyone is guilty of the crime unless proven otherwise. The real problem is that NYCC is punishing people who had no intention of scalping in the first place, instead of trying to encourage fans to attend this wonderful and amazing event.

As a final nail in the proverbial geek coffin, tickets cannot be purchased at any retailers. In the past fans were able to buy tickets at Midtown Comics or other local comic stores, but not this year. That means that you will not be getting many new attendees. Casual fans have now been excluded. Anyone who had a possible passing interest in checking out NYCC can no longer wait in line and buy a physical badge from their local comic store. If people were not made aware of the new fan verification process months in advance of ticket sales, then they stand little chance of getting a ticket. In essence, this policy is actually hurting nerd and geek culture by discouraging new people from going to conventions. That is incredibly disheartening, especially coming from a convention of which we have always been such big supporters. Yet, as long as you get paid, than maybe you don’t really care what this does to fans.

Trust us, you will get your money. You always do, but policies like this lay bare the fact that your money is all you care about. Unfortunately, that is not a surprise. As much as we have loved attending New York Comic Con, we have seen a trend in the past decade. NYCC used to be about fans, with small panels such as nerd rock concerts or video game improv, but the convention has changed. Long gone are the quirky fan events or intimate shows. They have been slowly replaced by big budget stage productions from giants like Marvel, DC, Legendary, and more. At some point the convention stopped being about us, the attendees, and started being about corporate sponsorship. This trend has finally culminated in the current ridiculous and convoluted ticket process that only proves that NYCC and ReedPOP don’t care about being loyal to the nerd and geek community. All you care about is the bottom line, and that is the worst tragedy of all.

So, it is with heavy hearts that we here at The NYRD must announce that we will not be attending your event this year. We can no longer support an organization that so blatantly disregards the very people that have helped make it what it is. Your policies will not stop scalping, but they will stop true fans from attending NYCC. You can bank on that.


May 25th is Geek Pride Day. Geeks and nerds have come a long way over the past sixty years since the term first entered into popular use in the 1950’s. The term nerd was coined by none other than Dr. Seuss in his book If I Ran a Zoo. If you don’t have time to read it, check out the Matt Damon film adaptation. In 1951 Newsweek reported that the term was used in Detroit Michigan to describe someone as “a drip,” or “a square.” Being a nerd in 1951 Detroit meant wedgies, and probably not being able to go to the sock-hop on Friday nights or something like. Fortunately, it is 2016 and the nerd population -along with its vibrancy and appeal- is soaring, while Detroit, ironically… not so much. Our point: Nerds Rule, but that wasn’t always the case.

Taking Back Nerd Day
A lot of people want to make distinctions between terms like “Geek,” “Nerd,” “Poindexter,” “Dweeb,” “Anime Fan,” but we here at The NYRD -get it- never really liked making those kinds of comparisons. Yes, each word can have separate meanings, but when taken together, what you get is a collection of the downtrodden, the kids who played instruments in the marching band, or who doodled math equations in gym class, or screwed up their first ever date because they couldn’t shut up about the intricacies of Star Fleet rank structure. We all have something in common, we didn’t quite fit in, like a rhombus shaped peg trying to squeeze into a Euclidean special ellipsis hole. Words like “Geek,” after all, used to literally mean freak, and maybe that’s why we have always preferred using “Nerd.” According to Wikipedia:

Nerd is a derogatory slang term for a person typically described as socially-impaired, obsessive, or overly intellectual. They may spend inordinate amounts of time on unpopular or obscure activities, pursuits, or interests, which are generally either highly technical, or relating to topics of fiction or fantasy, to the exclusion of more mainstream activities. Other nerdy qualities include physical awkwardness, introversion, quirkiness, and unattractiveness.

If you continue reading the article, it goes on to say that the term “nerd” has been re-appropriated by some as a term of pride and group identity, and we would argue that has gone a long way to changing the perception of our subculture. In the 1950’s people were ashamed to be called nerds, and now nerdy interests rule at the box office, on HBO, and on video game consoles across the world. Some might say that nerds have evolved, moving from the stereotypical glasses-wearing social outcast to Nathan Fillion, but that is not the full story. We have always been intelligent, passionate, and very cool individuals. The perception of nerds, however, has evolved.

It’s all Geek to Me
Potsie Weber was a nerd, and though Happy Days, was really a sitcom from 1974, it was meant as a reflection of the 1950’s. Warren “Potsie” Weber was the show’s nerd character, and often called so by others. He was socially awkward, gullible, and credited as not being too bright. He did his best to fit in with Richie and the Fonz, but it never quite worked out. He was often the butt of jokes, but in the end Potsie proved to be a talented musician and smart enough to eventually become a psychiatrist. He may not have wore glasses, but he was a nerd all the same. He was someone who found his his talents and interests undervalued, yet he constantly attempted to fit in.

By 1984, and the release of Revenge of the Nerds, the stereotype had been cemented. Glasses, suspenders, pocket-protectors and the works. Nerds were no longer just socially awkward people trying to fit in, they had become full-blow space cases. They were seen as weird and hopeless outsiders living in their own pimply world. It was a formula followed by such notables as Steve Urkel on Family Matters, Milhouse Van Houten on The Simpsons, and other nerdy, awkward, and annoying characters. -Thankfully, these later incarnations left out the “rapey-ness” of Revenge of the Nerds- Other notables of the 1980’s and 1990’s were Samuel “Screech” Powers from Saved By the Bell, and Carlton Banks from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Though they were not adorned with glasses and suspenders, each was a nerd, especially when compared with the popular main characters, and that was always the point. Nerds in the 80’s and 90’s no longer tried to fit in like Potsie did. Instead they lived in a world all their own that was strange and a subject of ridicule. They were the butt of every joke. Nerds were side-characters. They were comedic foils for much cooler leads, but then the 21st century arrived.

We do not want to mislead you. There are still plenty of socially clumsy, angry, and annoying nerd characters that arose in the 2000’s and 2010’s, such as The Office‘s Dwight Schrute, and any cast member of The Big Bang Theory, –very annoying– but at least we are no longer regulated to being side-jokes. Perhaps because of the success of characters like Urkel, or because actual nerds rose to power within the industry, Hollywood started recognizing the need for more mainstream nerd characters, and more complex ones. Characters like Charles Bartowski from Chuck, or Liz Lemon from 30 Rock, give us the more modern outlook on what a “nerd” has become. In essence, the modern take on the “geek” is a combination of the two older views. The world of nerds is still separate and strange, but no longer a subject of ridicule, and not our sole realm of existence. Nerds are still awkward and have odd obsessions but they are also characters with drive and ambition, as well as real problems and personalities. Hollywood -as well as the rest of the country- have finally realized that being a nerd is more than glasses and pocket protectors.

Nerdstream Media
If you need more proof of the mainstreaming of nerd culture you really need look no further than the article and the website you are currently reading, -We’re a pretty big deal- but if that isn’t enough to convince you, than just think of the movies everyone is watching this summer: Captain America, X-Men, Ghostbusters, Batman and Superman. Comic book movies, Star Wars, Star Trek, and Harry Potter. All these franchises have at least one movie coming out in the next year and all are expected to make quite a multi-million dollar splash. They are also all things that all have their roots in nerd culture. Granted, you will probably not see your high school quarterback rolling a D20 anytime soon, or the captain of the cheerleading squad shouting in Dothraki, but thanks -in part- to the internet nerds have never had it better.

The acceptance of nerd culture may have something to do with the general malaise and cynicism of modern times, a reaction to trends that started with grunge and emo music in the 90’s and early 2000’s. Yes, it can be “cool” to sometimes pretend to be disinterested and aloof, but it is also boring. Nerds on the other hand are the last people on the planet that are legitimately allowed to get spazzed-out excited over things. First of all, because we -by definition- are not cool, so we do not have to worry about appearing as such. Secondly, we just have so much cooler stuff to get excited over. When was the last time anyone dressed in costume to go see a George Clooney Indie Film debut, unless you count hipsters, but they are always in costume. Turn, instead, to the openings of Star Wars, or any Marvel movie, where you get a bevy of irrationally excited movie-goers dressed as everything from Jedi to wizards. Even attendees at Comic Con are no longer people who would usually claim themselves as “nerds.” Who would have ever thought that things like Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, or even Star Trek would draw non-nerd fans -we call you normies– but it makes sense. After all, when you are faced with a choice between a world filled with Kardashians or a world filled with wizards we would like to think that wizards would win every time.

People just want to get excited over things. Fantasy and imagination are not traits limited to a sub-culture of the population. Everyone has dreams, and hopes, and the desire to see laser guns blow up spaceships, awesome sword fights, or even dragons. Being a nerd is really nothing more than remembering that at one point you were a child. Everyone threw a towel over their shoulders and called it a cape or swung a stick around and called it a lightsaber, but the only difference between a nerd and everyone else is that for us that time was last week. More to the point being a nerd means being smart,  passionate, and/or talented in ways that are not always recognized by the mainstream, and those are all good things. Being quirky makes life interesting, and have a like-minded group of friends -even if others think they are wierdos- is what makes life important. It’s about having fun, being yourself, and most importantly not taking life too seriously.

The promised weekend has come and gone. San Diego Comic Con 2015 has passed us by, and though the staff members at The NYRD have been trapped across the country in the NY, we have been keeping up with all the goings on, on our sister coast in the SD. The biggest surprise this year seems to be that Marvel has basically taken a back seat, letting DC walk away with the show almost unopposed, but rest assured there has been news on Marvel and Marvel related titles.

Jump to: Marvel, 20th Century Fox, Walking Dead, Lego, Warcraft, Doctor Who, Star Wars, DC Comics

The only real showing on the MCU front was the debut of the Ant-Man suit in the main hall, but in truth it is nothing we haven’t seen before on the trailers or at last year’s comic con.

As for Marvel TV, the panel consisted of stars from Agent Carter, and Agents of SHIELD. It was pretty standard stuff, basically confirming that we can expect a new season of both shows in the fall. The biggest reveal has to do with AOSHIELD, which took place in a video featuring Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen. Coulson and Skye will be leading a super team called the Secret Warriors, and Skye will officially be dubbed Quake, and her name is now Daisy Johnson. This has basically confirmed theories of her identity in the comic world. They also announced the return of Antoine Triplett, and that Lash from the Inhumans would be joining the show.

On the comic front, Marvel teased a new Blade, indicating that the character would be a female, following the excellent trend the company started with the new Jane Foster Thor. They also teased a new series titled, Spidey, which showed a picture of the familiar red and blue wallcrawler carrying two bank robbers through the sky. The tagline stated, “Before he was amazing.”

20th Century Fox:
As if in response to the absence of Marvel, the studio franchise that is helming the X-Men and Fantastic Four titles, did their best to step up their game.

They started off their panel talking Fantastic Four, with an appearance by the whole cast, and a debut of a new and extended trailer for the movie, but that was just the appetizer before the main course.

The next person to take the stage got one of the biggest applauses as Ryan Reynolds appeared from the darkness after showing the first look at the new Deadpool trailer. By all accounts and the leaked footage that some naughty person took, the humor, the violence, and the tone is spot on with what we are all hoping for a Deadpool solo movie. Ryan Reynolds showed his obvious passion for the film, and even took a few shots at his former stint in green over at DC. He was joined by the rest of the cast who all talked about their experiences on the movie set.

Finally, it was time for the X-Men to come to the stage, starting with the legend, Hugh Jackman, who thanked the fans before confirming that the next Wolverine movie would be his last outing as the character, but it seems like they saved the best for last. The next solo flick for the canucklehead will be Old Man Logan, though it is questionable how that movie will work without actually being set in the MCU, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

He was then joined by the full cast of X-Men: Apocalypse and Bryan Singer. It was revealed that the new movie would take place ten years after that last movie, placing it sometime in the 80’s. Some unfinished footage from the movie was revealed, giving the attendees their first look at the majority of the cast, including a bald McAvoy.

The show ended with the casts of all three movies returning followed by none other than Stan the Man himself leading a bewildered Channing Tatum in a Gambit shirt.

Walking Dead
The Walking Dead Panel gave us a glimpse of the full cast and crew and included a trailer for Season 6 which will debut on October 11. It was also announced that the season premier would be a 90-minute episode, and showed us some of the tensions that would be bubbling up inside the group. The Walking Dead attraction in the main hall and the panel both hinted at a new threat looming over Rick and the Gang, known as The Wolves.

The panel also debuted a first look at the new Fear the Walking Dead, which will portray the zombie event starting mere days after the outbreak. It takes place in LA and seems to have a much smaller perspective. The main characters are normal people, not gun toting sheriffs or samurai warriors, like those found on the original show.  Even the zombies will be less gory, as they are only freshly dead, and the camera style looks a bit fuzzy and shaky. It seems as if this new series is really trying to strike out from under the shadow of its older sister.

The toy giant made a few splashes of its own at SDCC. They practically plastered the town with advertisements and attractions from their newest enterprise, Lego Dimensions, and revealed that Doctor Who, would be joined the LD universe. In true Lego fashion you will be able to play as any of the twelve doctors, and when you die you be able to regenerate into another Doctor. Peter Capaldi will also be voicing the Twelfth Doctor, and Jenna Louise Coleman will also be lending her voice talents to the game.

The company also announced a plethora of new playable characters for Lego Marvel’s Avengers, including Sam Wilson’s Captain America. Stan Lee will even be playable with a character called Iron Stan.

Legendary Pictures went balls to the wall with their Warcraft attraction on the show floor. Weta Workshop trotted out an insane amount of armor and orcs from the upcoming Warcraft movie and even gave people a chance to wield some weapons in a photo-shoot with a life-sized orc warrior. The panel also revealed new artwork, and it looks pretty sweet.

Lothar_Warcraft_11x17_rgb_sml Durotan_Warcraft_11x178_rgb_sml

We have to admit we haven’t really been feeling the hype for this movie, despite us all being unadulterated Blizzard fans, but the booth was fairly impressive and there is something awe inspiring about seeing full-sized Alliance warriors in their familiar armor.

Doctor Who:
Peter Capaldi and the entire cast were on hand to debut scenes from the Series 9 of Doctor Who which will start in September. We got a look at the new dynamic that will be taking place between the Doctor and Clara, as well as return of the Zygons. Yet, even more exciting the preview showed Maisie “stick’em with the pointy end” Williams.

Star Wars:
The only panel that gave DC a run for its money, the Star Wars panel gave fans a new look into a galaxy far far away.

Most importantly the cast was on stage, and we are talking Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamil, and Harrison “Don’t get cocky kid,” Ford. JJ Abrams made a big promise to fans that this latest outing in our favorite galaxy was all about “respect.” He also promised that there would not be a new trailer out until the Fall. However, to make up for it he did give everyone a behind the scenes look, which gave us some new tidbits of information. Sufficed to say it was a crowd pleaser.

It was revealed that the new enemy, The New Order, is using the Empire’s old TIE Fighters, except with a fresh paint job. Maybe they are low on credits and have to cut corners wherever they can. I guess we will find out more in September. Lastly, a surprisingly familiar face popped up in the form of Simon Pegg who will have a cameo in the new Star Wars movie, even if you won’t be able to see his face behind his giant alien costume. Only our favorite geek from across the pond would be this amped about a part where we will never even know it is him. As for the rest we will just have to wait and see what more details are revealed in the coming months.

Finally, the DC panel was the breath that everyone was waiting to exhale, and surprisingly it was pretty basic. We are not saying that there was not a ton of cool stuff, but there was also no surprises. There was no Jared Leto in full joker attire or even cameos by the entire line-up of the Justice League. For a convention where everyone expected DC to wow the crowd with a show stopping extravaganza, it seems like DC was content just hit the single and score the winning run in modest fashion, instead of going for the grand slam that everyone expected.

With that said the new DC Cinematic Universe, if that is what we are calling it now, seems to be chugging ahead at full steam. The SDCC main hall was packed with a giant display case showing of the Superman, Batman, Armored Batman, and Wonder Woman costumes from Batman V Superman. It looks as if we are going to get the most realistic Batsuit yet to appear on screen, which is a definite plus. There was also a ton of smaller things to see too including bat gadgets galore and Wonder Woman’s lasso.

The panel itself opened up with some movies including Pan and the Man from UNCLE, but that was not what people came to see. It wasn’t until the full cast of the Suicide Squad, including a bald Will Smith, took the stage that the audience got their first look at clips from the movie, and things really heated up. From all accounts the movie has a definite gritty and dark tone to it, and the clips ended with a full look at Leto’s joker electrocuting someone. David Ayer promised it would be about “bad vs. evil,” and the crowd went wild.

Next up was Batman V Superman, and we got to see a lot new, and sometimes disjointed, footage. We saw Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, including a scene that shows that Bruce Wayne was in Metropolis during the time of the Zod incident. We also saw a long haired Lex Luthor, a dead Zod, and confirmation that Metropolis and Gotham City are sister cities. The Joker also appears as if he will play at least a small part in the movie, and there was a weird scene of Batman fighting armored guards in the desert who are wearing Superman patches on their arm.

All and all it seemed kind of hard to understand how all the scenes really fit into the same movie. The full cast and crew came on stage, and all seemed genuinely excited about the script and the story. So that should be a plus.

It was confirmed that the Green Lantern movie would be about the Green Lantern Corps. instead of being a piece centered around just Hal Jordan or Jon Stewart. I suppose DC learned its lesson on risking a sole Green Lantern movie. It was also confirmed that the stand alone Wonder Woman movie would be a time piece set in World War II. Personally speaking, we here at the NYRD are super psyched by that take on the Amazonian warrior. It is the perfect time piece to put her into and a good way to spice up the DCCU with some history and back story.

On the comic front, DC seems to be pushing ahead with new Earth One titles, including new Flash, Superman, and Aquaman titles.

On the DCTV side of things a detailed panel included guests from Arrow, Flash, and the new Legends of Tomorrow. Each debuted new ideas, new villains, and new heroes. Oliver Queen will also be getting a new suit. The panel even showed a promo for the new animated series, Vixen.

The cast of Gotham was next to the stage and they talked about their next season including their plan for more about the origins of the Joker. It’s hard for us at The NYRD to really see the sense in that, as revealing the Joker’s origins tends to ruin the mystique of the character, but Gotham has been a quality show up to this point so we will give them the benefit of the doubt.

The real show stopper was the full preview of the pilot for Supergirl, that seemed to really please anyone in the crowd that was willing to stay late enough in Hall H to catch the hour long debut. By accounts, most people walked away satisfied by what they saw of the super-heroine. Many said that the show seems to have the feel of the Richard Donner Superman movie. Let’s hope that is a recipe for success.

Final Reactions:
This year’s San Diego Comic Con was certainly a good time. However, we must admit there were no real shockers to be seen. Everything that was premiered and debuted was basically on par with what we expected.

Maybe that says more about the culture of Internet rumors and leaks than it does about any of the convention presenters, but compared to other years we really don’t feel as if we found out anything new about the properties we love and love talking about. With that said, there was plenty of cool footage and awesome geek news to digest. This year was certainly a success by any standards and we personally cannot wait till October.

NYCC is just around the corner. We hope to see you all there.

Warcraft photo credits: